BP official on stand in oil spill trial

2013-02-27 16:43
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

New Orleans - A BP executive will testify for a second day on Wednesday at a trial over the worst oil spill in the US, speaking before a judge who will decide whether the London-based oil giant and other companies acted with gross negligence for the 2010 disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP executive Lamar McKay testified on Tuesday that BP and its contractors share responsibility for preventing blowouts like the Macondo well blowout and rig explosion off Louisiana that killed 11 workers on 20 April 2010, spawning the massive spill.

Swiss-based rig owner Transocean and cement contractor Halliburton also are defendants.

Barring a settlement, the federal trial is intended to identify the cause of the well blowout and decide how much more money BP and the others might have to pay, assigning percentages of blame.

Under the Clean Water Act, a polluter can be forced to pay a minimum of $1 100 per barrel of spilled oil; the fines nearly quadruple to about $4 300 a barrel for companies found grossly negligent, meaning BP could have to pay nearly $18bn.

BP has already pleaded guilty to manslaughter and other criminal charges and has racked up more than $24bn in spill-related expenses, including cleanup costs, compensation for businesses and individuals, and $4bn in criminal penalties.

Two BP rig supervisors have been indicted on manslaughter charges for the workers' deaths and are awaiting a separate trial.

BP and Transocean attorneys on Wednesday are expected to question McKay, who served as president of BP America at the time of the blowout and now is chief executive of the company's Upstream unit.

The third day of the trial also was expected to include video excerpts of deposition testimony by former BP chief Tony Hayward.

Excerpts of Hayward's testimony that became public in 2011 show he tried to refute accusations that he sought to prop up BP's falling share price through his subordinates' daily media briefings on the spill.

BP’s responsibility

On Tuesday, a lawyer for businesses and people suing over the disaster pressed McKay to agree with him that BP bore ultimate responsibility for the blowout. But McKay insisted that managing the hazards of deepwater drilling constituted a "team effort”.

"I think that's a shared responsibility, to manage the safety and the risk," said McKay. "

Sometimes contractors manage that risk. Sometimes we do. Most of the time it's a team effort."

McKay also defended BP's internal probe of the spill, which outlined a series of mistakes by rig workers and faulted decisions by other companies but didn't assign any blame to BP's upper-level management.

One of the biggest issues already emerging at the trial is BP's safety record.

University of California-Berkeley engineering professor Robert Bea testified on Tuesday that BP PLC didn't implement a 2-year-old safety management programme on the rig that exploded.

"It's a classic failure of management and leadership in BP," said Bea, a former BP consultant who also investigated the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill and New Orleans levee breaches after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

BP has said its "Operating Management System" was designed to drive a rigorous and systematic approach to safety and risk management. During cross-examination by a BP lawyer, Bea said the company made "significant efforts" to improve safety management as early as 2003.

However, the plaintiffs say BP only implemented its new safety plan at just one of the seven rigs the company owned or leased in the Gulf at the time of the disaster.

BP lawyer Mike Brock said the company allows contractors like Transocean to take the primary responsibility for the safety of rig operations as long as the contractor's safety system is compatible with BP's - an arrangement Brock suggested is a standard industry practice.

- AP
Read more on:    bp  |  transocean  |  us  |  us oil slick
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland
The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is so much going on around you and inside your head. You may want to take your ideas to the next level. Romance may be...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.